Trucking? Tere Tatiana couldn’t imagine that it was a lucrative business, but her mother did. Tere went from military wife, a government contractor in Afghanistan, to owning not one, but multiple businesses. By allowing herself to stop thinking that the trucking business is a “man’s” job, it opened up more opportunities for her to grow as a businesswoman.
Grit Daily: You had your own adventures before Labeled Blu Transportation. Share those.
Tere Tatiana: I had a very colorful background before Labeled Blu took off. After I graduated from high school, I completed my undergrad at Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina. From there I was a military wife and got married while in college. We were stationed in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, where I dreaded going because I hated the cold and the snow, but I had my daughter there.
Four months later, I was deployed to Afghanistan as a government contractor. My first job there was in the foodservice. I was making $90,000 a year packing up meat for soldiers. That was a really good, fun experience. I was then certified in connecting, splicing, and measuring fiber active cable and got into logistics for the first time. I was able to travel the world, to Dubai, and pretty much all over. After some time passed, I returned to the States. That is when I really took off with the trucking. I had another opportunity to go back to Afghanistan, and I took it.
Once I became financially stable, I purchased my first home, multiple trucks, and multiple pieces of equipment. Due to 2020 covid travel restrictions, I funneled all of my time and energy into building my business and empire.
Grit Daily: What’s behind the Labeled Blu Transportation name?
TT: Labeled Blu is a monolithic brand. I wanted a name that resonates with who I am- a very dependable, reliable person who has integrity. And so, whenever you think of colors like purple, blue, gold, you think of royalty. That is how I named Labeled Blu Collection, my clothing company. Then one day I was thinking I want to build an empire, so let’s go ahead and name all my businesses the same so I can have a clean, cohesive look and brand. That is pretty much how Labeled Blu Transportation was born.
Grit Daily: What problem are you trying to solve?
TT: I come from a small town in South Georgia called Statesboro. I’m trying to show people from our generation, especially from our culture, and most importantly (the people) where I am from that it is okay to live a luxurious life. It is okay to live a flashy lifestyle, to want nicer things, to go after our dreams, and it’s okay to want something outside of just plain basketball, sports, lawyer, doctor, and other avenues outside of the norm.
There are so many other opportunities, and money on the table, that we as a community tend to overlook and not necessarily know what’s out there. I had many opportunities to sit at tables, to be a person who has friends from different backgrounds, cultures, and from all over the world. We deserve all the things and opportunities that are out there, but a lot of times we don’t have or know how to access information. So now that I do, I want to share that to my people.
Grit Daily: What perspective do you bring as the first black women to launch virtual trucking classes specifically designed to teach black women the ins and outs of the lucrative trucking business?
TT: My mom introduced me to trucking. She thought it was a good idea because I was blowing money fast. I was making six figures a year as a government contractor, and I wasn’t really doing the responsible thing. When she brought it to my attention, I said to her “No, I’m a girly girl, that’s not something ladies like myself would do.”
I really had to break that stigma in my mind. I know there are other women who feel the same way. So I wanted to open our minds, as women, to not just be entrepreneurs or aggressive entrepreneurs, but to not leave any tables unturned. It’s not just for men to acquire. We can get out there and hustle just as hard. A lot of the time as women, especially in our day and age, we are out hustling men. We are getting these men in predominant fields, we can pretty much take over the world from here.
Grit Daily: What is one conventional wisdom about the trucking business that is just plain wrong?
TT: A lot of men question if I have the know-how or the authority to teach people how to get into trucking. I do not have a CDL. I am teaching people how to run a business. Men mistake what I am trying to teach people how to drive a truck. I can’t teach people how to drive a truck, but I can teach how to start their own business in trucking and I am currently writing a book.
The stigmas and the norms and the used-to-be — are out.